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Taliban threaten attacks on NATO supplies

04 July, 2012

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PESHAWAR: Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday threatened to attack trucks carrying supplies to US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan after Islamabad and Washington reached a deal to re-open the lines.

"We will attack NATO supplies all over Pakistan. We will not allow anyone to use Pakistani soil to transport supplies that will be used against the Afghan people," the group's spokesman told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Meanwhile, various religious and political parties expressed reservations over resumption of NATO supplies, saying the decision was against the interests and security of Islam and Muslims.

Difa-e-Pakistan Council head Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, Abdul Qadir and others said the decision to resume NATO supplies amounted to supporting genocide of the Afghan people. They expressed their resolve to carry on protest against resumption of NATO supplies.

Expressing concerns over the Pakistan-US friendship, they said America had never been loyal even to its coalition partners. They slammed the government for making a decision "which will not serve the interests of the people of Pakitan".

They criticised the rulers for reopening the supplies, saying the decision was bound to adversely affect the people of Afghanistan. The leaders urged the people of Pakistan to unite for the cause of getting the region free from American influence and ending the US control on the policies of the rulers.

Truckers demand security before resumption

NATO truckers late on Tuesday welcomed Pakistan's decision to reopen supply lines into Afghanistan but said they feared Taliban attacks, demanding security guarantees before the resumption.

Mir Muhammad Yousaf Shahwani, head of the largest oil tanker owners association in Pakistan, told AFP that supply trucks and tankers could be en route in "days" but insisted they needed protection first. "It is a sudden decision but even then we can start supplies in days. The thing is, who will protect us," Shahwani said.

"We need security. Taliban have killed dozens of our drivers and torched hundreds of vehicles," he added. Taliban have carried out dozens of attacks, disrupting supplies for 130,000 US-led international troops fighting in Afghanistan, and have repeatedly warned of more if Pakistan reopened supply routes.

Pakistan closed its Afghan border crossings to NATO convoys on November 26 last year after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Pakistan was re-opening the border to NATO supplies and said the United States was "sorry" for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military.

Earlier, Pakistan's new prime minister acknowledged that continuing the seven-month blockade was negatively affecting relations with the US and other NATO member states.


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